I was taken aback by this Sunday Telegraph article about English reaction to the “No” votes on the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands:
Tony Blair has given up on Europe as an issue worth fighting for, senior allies of the Prime Minister have told The Sunday Telegraph.
A leading Blairite cabinet minister made the admission last night as the European Union descended into deeper turmoil, with doubts surfacing over the future of the single currency.
Mr Blair, who will seek to shift the focus of his administration on to poverty in the Third World this week during talks with President Bush, has told his closest allies: “Africa is worth fighting for. Europe, in its present form, is not.”
Most striking is the discussion about the future of the Euro:
Yet the crisis widened beyond the document alone, with a media offensive being mounted to bolster the euro after German officials and an Italian minister openly discussed its possible demise. In the first rumblings of a call for the franc to be reinstated, Nicolas Dupont-Aignant, a member of Mr Chirac’s ruling UMP party, said: “France, Italy and Germany would be in a better state without the euro. However, I don’t believe we should ditch it now.
“But either it is reformed, and the central European Bank kick-starts growth by lowering interest rates and pursuing a more American-style monetary policy, or the euro will explode in mid-air.”
At the moment, the dollar is looking pretty good. As one Euroskeptic Tory says in the Telegraph: “You can’t have a single currency without a single government. They are in a mess because they have only done half of it and they are now discovering in a painful way what that means.”
When American corporations have lost their way and can’t figure out how to improve their market position, a common “solution” is to merge with another similarly befuddled company. This allows both companies to “grow,” and permits executives to put off hard decisions for years amid talk of “synergy” and restructuring. I think a similar phenomenon has been at work in Europe, where merger via the EU has been seen as a solution to all sorts of problems that Europe’s peoples and politicians lack the will to address in a more meaningful way.